[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/20/art.hrcpt1120.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Hillary Clinton has emerged as a leading contender to be the country's top diplomat in the next administration."]
(CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton continues to top the short list of possible contenders to be the next Secretary of State under President-elect Barack Obama.
In addition to Clinton, there are several prominent Democrats and even one Republican on CNN’s list:
SEN. JOHN KERRY: The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee has served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for almost 20 years.
DR. SUSAN RICE: A veteran of Bill Clinton’s State Department, Rice was also a senior adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign.
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON: The New Mexico governor was tapped by Bill Clinton to be U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., but Richardson broke with the Clintons when he decided to endorse Obama after ending his own 2008 presidential bid.
SEN. DICK LUGAR: The Republican, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, worked with Obama last year to expand a program that destroys weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union.
SAM NUNN: The former Democratic senator from Georgia currently co-chairs an effort to reduce threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. While in the Senate, Nunn worked with Lugar to destroy weapons of mass destruction amassed by the former Soviet Union.
Click here for additional CNN short lists for Obama’s potential cabinet.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/21/art.nunn.ap.jpg caption="It appears Nunn will not be Obama's VP."](CNN) - It appears Sam Nunn, the former Georgia senator and a leading Democratic expert on foreign policy issues, can safely be crossed off the list of Barack Obama's potential running mates.
Nunn spokeswoman Kathy Gwin confirms to CNN the former senator will be out of the country through Monday - far from Springfield, Illinois, where Obama is expected to hold a rally with his newly-named VP Saturday.
Gwin refused to release further details about the trip, saying only that Nunn was traveling on "international business."
Nunn's moderate political views, Southern ties, and gravitas on issues of national security and nuclear non-proliferation have made him a perennial VP contender, though he said last month it's a job he has never coveted.
"I have never aspired to that office," said Nunn at an Obama campaign event last month. "It is always nice to have your name mentioned - it is an honor - but I have no expectation of being offered any office, and I am not in any way sitting on the edge of a chair ready to go back into government."
Watch: Does Clinton have a chance?
(CNN) - Evan Bayh and Sam Nunn wanted to focus on Barack Obama's national security credentials Wednesday. The traveling press corps trailing the presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign didn’t.
In a press conference following a campaign-sponsored roundtable discussion on emerging terrorist threats, Bayh and Nunn were bombarded by questions over reports both Democrats are on Obama's shortlist for vice president.
But Bayh, a senator from Indiana, and Nunn, a former senator from Georgia, revealed little about the Obama campaign's vetting process and their own ambitions for the job.
Veepstakes: Check out CNN's Political Market to see who's ahead
"I have never aspired to that office," said Nunn, who served in the Senate for 25 years. "It is always nice to have your name mentioned - it is an honor - but I have no expectation of being offered any office, and I am not in any way sitting on the edge of a chair ready to go back into government."
Nunn, one of the most respected Democratic voices on national security policy, seems to encounter vice presidential speculation every election cycle, given his appeal in the South and strength on issues where Republicans usually have the edge.
iReport.com: Share your picks for VP
Bayh, a former supporter of Hillary Clinton who also has red-state appeal, also brushed aside speculation he is being considered a spot on the ticket.
"I love serving the people of Indiana - and I think any questions about the vice presidential thing are understandable and it’s good for my ego, but I should probably let Senator Obama and his campaign address those kind of questions," he said.
One reporter asked the senator — whose father Birch Bayh ran for president in 1976 - if he was taking his name out of the VP running.
"I've got a plane to catch," he responded, chuckling.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/16/art.nunn.ap.jpg caption="Nunn brought Czechoslovakia back to center stage."] (CNN) - A lot of countries haven’t gotten a share of the spotlight at any of this week’s foreign policy-themed presidential campaign events, or shown up in any of the new national security-focused ads: most of the United States’ hemispheric neighbors, for instance, or just about any nation on the African continent.
Rating no fewer than three references in three days: the non-existent state of Czechoslovakia.
That country – which ceased to exist in 1993, when it split into two nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – has now been referred to as a present-day area of concern by two of the most respected current and former Senate foreign policy experts in the space of less than a week. On Monday and Tuesday, it was presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, who said he was worried about recent Russian moves to reduce energy supplies to “Czechoslovakia.”
On Wednesday it was the Democrats’ turn, as Republicans quickly circulated a clip of former Georgia senator and current VP prospect Sam Nunn making the same slip at a mid-day national security summit, flanked by his party’s presumptive nominee Barack Obama.
“…We in this country are about to, under this government, under the Bush administration, deploy [a] missile defense system in Poland and Czechoslovakia,” Nunn said at the Indiana event Wednesday.
So far this week, Persia, Yugoslavia and Siam have yet to come up for discussion.